BMC Says the Flood Monitoring System, IFLOWS-Mumbai, Couldn’t Help Detect Recent Flooding

BMC Says the Flood Monitoring System, IFLOWS-Mumbai, Couldn’t Help Detect Recent Flooding

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) dedicated flood warning and forecasting system, known as IFLOWS-Mumbai, couldn’t help the city during the heavy rains witnessed over the weekend. The civic body said that the system would need more fine-tuning to obtain accurate predictions and results.

IFLOWS was jointly unveiled in June 2020 at an online event by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan. 

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The name stands for ‘Integrated Flood Warning System for Mumbai’ (IFLOWS-Mumbai) and was touted as a tool to predict the extent of flooding in the city around 6 to 72 hours before the event. This system was also meant to notify flood-prone areas across the 24 civic wards at least 12 hours in advance.

In theory, IFLOWS-Mumbai would allow the local civic agencies to coordinate and implement mitigation measures which include the manoeuvring of machinery and workers to flooding hotspots.

Despite the expectations, IFLOWS failed to provide any warnings on June 9, July 16-17, and July 17-18 when massive spells of rain hit the city. 

It’s worth mentioning that IFLOWS is currently managed by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), although the tool will eventually be handed over to the BMC. This system allows the IMD to generate flood warning bulletins for spots across the city.

Such locations will be categorized under low-probability (under 1-feet of depth), moderate (1-2 feet of depth), and high (2-3 feet of depth), and very high (more than 3 feet of depth). 

Chief Officer of the BMC’s Disaster Management Unit, Mahesh Narvekar said, “The system is not fully functional yet and there are trials run on the system. It is being used on an experimental basis. The system’s results are not accurate as yet. It did not provide any help or alert last night (Saturday night).”

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